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Switched on Pop

Switched on Pop

Author: Vox

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Best Arts & Culture podcast Webby 2020 winner about the making and meaning of popular music. Musicologist Nate Sloan & songwriter Charlie Harding pull back the curtain on how pop hits work magic on our ears & our culture.

202 Episodes
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Cory Henry is a remarkably gifted multi-instrumentalist. Growing up in the church, he started playing the Hammond B3 organ at age 2 and played his first gig at Apollo theater in NYC at age 6. As a professional musician he’s played along side Bruce Springsteen, Boyz II Men, The Roots, Kirk Franklin and many others including the acclaimed group Snarky Puppy which earned 3 Grammys during his tenure playing keys. Now he leads his band Cory Henry & The Funk Apostles who are releasing an album on Oct 30th called Something To Say, which features all of Henry’s gifts, but especially his voice in an album that makes you want to get up and dance as much as it makes you want to take action.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Shawn Mendes, BTS, Alicia Keys, 24kGoldn, Dua Lipa, Justin Bieber & Chance The Rapper are all in the Hot 100 with songs that attempt to cope with the state of the world. What do they tell us about the sound of popular music and our collective psyche? Charlie is joined by writer, critic and friend of the podcast, Lauren Michele Jackson to offer a meteorological reading of music in late 2020. MORE Read Aja Romano's article "With 'Dynamite,' BTS beat the US music industry at its own cheap game" on Vox.com SONGS DISCUSSED Shawn Mendes - Wonder Alicia Keys - Underdog Hamilton - My Shot Dua Lipa - Break My Heart INXS - Need You Tonight BTS - Dynamite Justin Bieber - Holy ft. Chance The Rapper 24kgolden - Mood ft. iann dior Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
There is a type of country song that loves flawed characters lost on a winding journey ... likely down a dit road. One of the best songwriters in this style is acclaimed artist Brandy Clark. Her credits include a whose-who of country music—Kacey Musgraves, Reba McEntire, Darius Rucker, Lean Rimes—and her albums have received overwhelming critical acclaim. And her debut record, 12 Stories, earned her a 2015 Grammy nomination for Best New Artist. We spoke with Brandy about her new album Your Life Is A Record, which asks what if your life’s journey fit on one LP. The songs are honest, and buck the all too familiar pop-country clichés. Clark writes songs about anti-heroes who make imperfect choices (“Who You Thought I Was,” “The Past Is The Past.”) All together her songs portray one whole life.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Keith Urban is a legend of country. He’s been releasing hit records for two decades now. Each album he describes as a portrait of his life in that moment. On his latest work, The Speed Of Now Part 1, has Urban disregarding country convention (as he’s known to do), and collaborating with a diverse roster of musicians who contribute an eclectic array of sounds funk guitar, breakbeat drums and even EDM style programming. The result is less straight ahead country and more the unique sound of Keith Urban. In this conversation, we discuss his music, how he stays creative, and why he believes music can still be a uniting force. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Mickey Guyton spent a decade of fits and starts trying to make a career in country music. But now in recent months she’s having a country music moment releasing vulnerable songs that use her experiences of rejection, exclusion and racism as inspiration. Charlie speaks with Guyton about her breakout songs “What Are You Gonna Tell Her?” and “Black Like Me,” as well as what it took for her to make it onto one of country musics most beloved stages, the American Country Music Awards. Songs Discussed Mickey Guyton - What Are You Gonna Tell Her Dolly Parton, Kenny Rogers - Islands In the Stream Dolly Parton - Coat of Many Colors Mickey Guyton - Safe (Acoustic) Mickey Guyton - Heartbreak Song Mickey Guyton - Why Baby Why Mickey Guyton - Better Than You Left Me Mickey Guyton - Black Like Me Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Howard and Guy Lawrence, the brothers behind Disclosure, found global acclaim in 2012 with their song “Latch” ft. Sam Smith which blended house and dubstep in a doo-wop time signature. Since, they have collaborated with many of pop’s most sought after vocalists (The Weeknd, Lore and Khalid to name a few) in an ever evolving vision of dance music. On their latest album release, “Energy,” Disclosure channels sounds and samples from the global south. Listen to find out how they make the energy flow.  Survey We are conducting an audience survey to better serve you. It takes no more than five minutes, and it really helps out the show. Please take our survey here: voxmedia.com/podsurvey.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
When we listen closely to the Fifth, we hear a testament to self-expression and determination. Which means that we get to decide how to honor this symphony today, whether that means taking a break from Beethoven to commission new works from underrepresented composers, bringing new audiences into the fold by staging concerts in communities outside of the concert hall, or re-writing Beethoven’s works to make them reflect our present moment.  Featuring: Anthony McGill, Clarinet Andrea Moore, Musicologist Deborah Borda, CEO and President David Lang, Composer Jaap van Sweden, Conductor Leelanee Sterett, Horn Sherry Sylar, Oboe Music Featured: Carlos Simon, Loop Tania Léon, Stride David Lang, Prisoner of the State Recoding of Beethoven Symphony 5 by the New York Philharmonic conducted by Jaap van Sweden used by permission from Decca Gold. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Before Beethoven’s time, classical music culture looked and sounded quite different. When Mozart premiered his Symphony 31 in the late 1700s, it was standard for audiences to clap, cheer, and yell “da capo!” (Italian for “from the beginning!”) in the middle of a performance. After Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony debuted in the early 1800s, these norms changed — both because the rising industrial merchant class took ownership of concert halls and because of shifts in the music itself. As we explored in episodes I and II of the Switched On Pop podcast series The 5th, the musical complexity of Beethoven’s symphony required a different kind of listening. The Fifth’s four-note opening theme occurs and recurs in variations throughout the symphony, slowly shifting from minor to major keys and mirroring Beethoven’s experience with deafness. The Fifth’s creative rule-breaking — subverting the classical sonata form in the first movement, for example — requires close listening to fully grasp. Over time, these norms crystallized into a set of etiquette rules (e.g., “don’t clap mid-piece”) to enhance the new listening experience. In the third episode of The 5th, we explore how Beethoven’s symphony was used to generate the strict culture of classical music — and the politics that undergird those norms of behavior. Music Discussed Recording of The New York Philharmonic performing Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 conducted by Jaap van Zweden used by permission from Decca Gold. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
In the first movement of his famous symphony, Beethoven sets up a battle between hope and despair. The dark side of that spectrum is represented by the anguished opening notes of the first movement: DUN DUN DUNNN. Over the course of the next three movements, Beethoven keeps trying to overcome his dark fate with bright major melodies, and keeps getting defeated. With each high and low, we begin to understand that this battle isn't just about major and minor keys, it's about the will to live in the face of adversity. How do you perform such an emotional rollercoaster? We talk to the members of the New York Philharmonic about what it's like to sound a symphony whose stakes are life and death. Jaap van Zweden, Conductor Leelanee Sterrett, Horn Kyle Zerna, Percussion Frank Huang, Violin Anthony McGill, Clarinet Sherry Sylar, Oboe Recording of The New York Philharmonic performing Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 conducted by Jaap van Zweden used by permission from Decca Gold. Hear new episodes of our four-part miniseries The 5th every Tuesday and Friday starting September 8th. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
You know Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. You’ve heard it in films, advertisements, parodied in Saturday morning cartoons and disco-ized in Saturday Night Fever. The Fifth Symphony is a given, so much so that it blends into the background. You know this piece, but how well? Of all the symphonies of the bewigged classical "greats," why is this one still stuck in our heads over two centuries later? To answer these questions, we’re giving Beethoven’s famous symphony the same treatment we give to pop songs. And we’re doing so with the help of an orchestra that’s been performing this piece since 1842, the New York Philharmonic. In Movement I, we hear how the famous opening notes of the symphony aren't just melody: they’re the main character in a drama that will unfold over four movements. Featuring: Frank Huang, Violin Anthony McGill, Clarinet Sherry Sylar, Oboe Recording of The New York Philharmonic performing Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 conducted by Jaap van Zweden used by permission from Decca Gold. New episodes of our four-part miniseries The 5th drop every Tuesday and Friday starting September 8th. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
A podcast mini-series in IV movements explaining and reconsidering Beethoven’s game-changing symphony. Episodes air Tuesdays & Fridays starting Sept 8th. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Our Switched on Summer Throwback Series continues with “Dancing in the Street,” the 1964 Motown hit by Martha and the Vandellas that was co-written by none other than Marvin Gaye. Over 50 years and countless covers later, we explore how this song still manages to get people off their feet and onto the streets—not just to dance, but also to raise their voices in joy, catharsis, and protest. SPONSOR We use Reason Studios to make music on Switched On Pop. You can use Reason too free for 30 days: http://reasonstudios.com/onpop SONGS DISCUSSED Martha and the Vandellas – Dancing in the Street Marvin Gaye – Stubborn Kind of Fellow The Mamas and the Papas – Dancing in the Street The Grateful Dead – Dancing in the Street Van Halen – Dancing in the Street Mick Jagger and David Bowie – Dancing in the Street Kendrick Lamar – Alright Pharrell Williams – Happy Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
How does it feel to become a global pop star under lockdown? Benee’s “Supalonely” had been out for over 5 months when in March of 2020, it quickly became the second most popular song on TikTok. The song’s hook “I’ve been lonely… Supalonely” clearly reflected a global collective malaise about the pandemic—and people wanted to dance to it. She wrote this “sad banger” to help get over a breakup. And now the song changed her life. Not along before she’d dropped out of college to make music while working at a pizza place. Her first EP had found an audience in her home country, New Zealand. Now, with her TikTok success Benee has ascended the top 100 in 30 countries. All of this happened from the solitude of her childhood bedroom, where like so many people, she’s taking zoom calls all day. She tells Switched On Pop about using levity to overcome personal difficulty and what’s like to achieve global recognition from home. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
90s Music Canon

90s Music Canon

2020-08-1838:461

Matt Daniels, editor of the publication The Pudding, wanted to find out what songs from his youth would last into the future. So he designed a study that would test if Gen-Z had a grip on 90s culture. Hundreds of thousands of participants provided over 3 million data points. Daniels parsed through the data for insights. Sadly, the majority of his most beloved songs have not survived even one generation. Though most had been forgotten, he found that just a few songs had staying power across generations — what he defined as the emerging 90s music canon. Find out what songs make it and which have fallen to the wayside.  MORE The Pudding’s study on Defining the 90s Canon Take The Pudding’s quiz yourself SONGS DISCUSSED Spice Girls - Wannabe  Mariah Carey - Fantasy! Lou Bega - Mambo #5 Los Del Rio - Macarena Boys II Men - Motown Philly Whitney Houston - I Will Always Love You Savage Garden - I Want You The Barenaked Ladies - One Week Jewel - You Were Meant For Me Jennifer Lopez - If You Had My Love Celine Dion - My Heart Will Go On Britney Spears - Baby One More Time Smash Mouth - All Star Nirvana - Smells Like Teen Spirit Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Bruno Major blends old song structures from The Great American Songbook with contemporary production on his new album “To Let A Good Thing Die.” The result is a nostalgic, yet contemporary collection of love songs for the Netflix and chill generation. We speak with Bruno Major about how he draws inspiration from the past to craft something new. He breaks down his songs "Nothing," "To Let A Good Thing Die," and "The Most Beautiful Thing," which he wrote with Finneas. And we unpack how Bruno Major found success only after being dropped from his record label. SONGS DISCUSSED Bruno Major - Nothing Autumn Leaves - Nat King Cole Fly Me to The Moon - Frank Sinatra Stella By Starlight - Tony Bennett There Will Never Be Another You - Nat King Cole Like Someone in Love - Chet Baker Deep in a Dream - Frank Sinatra All The things you are - Ella Fitzgerald Paul Simon - Still Crazy After All These Years Wes Montgomery - In Your Own Sweet Way Bruno Major - Wouldn't Mean A Thing Bruno Major - Bad Religion (Live) Bruno Major - I'll Sleep When I'm Older J Cole - KOD J Dilla - La La La Bruno Major - The Most Beautiful Thing Bruno Major - To Let A Good Thing Die Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Beyoncé' has released "Black Is King," a visual album based off of music that she released last year. We're rerunning that piece so that you can place the visual component of "Black Is King" in context to the music. For the live action remake of the Lion King, Beyoncé, (who voices Nala in the film), recorded and curated a companion soundtrack called The Gift. She worked with leading Afropop stars to expose the music of the continent to a global audience. In her piece, “Diversity Is in the Details: What Beyoncé’s ‘The Lion King: The Gift’ Gets Right and Wrong,” Okayplayer music editor Ivie Ani argues that the album highlights music while unintentionally treating the continent as a monolith. Ani joins Switched On Pop to break down this album and what it means for Afropop. SONGS DISCUSSED Beyoncé, Jay-Z, Childish Gambino, Oumou Sangaré – MOOD 4 EVA Oumou Sangaré – Diaraby Nen Burna Boy – JA ARA Fela Kuti – Water No Get Enemy Fena, MDQ, Mayonde, Kagwe, Blinky Bill – PARTY NATION BONUS Listen to Blinky and Ivie’s East African playlist recommendations Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Taylor Swift has released folklore, her unexpected eighth studio album. It is an understated work that firmly puts celebrity gossip behind her (there are no who's-dating-who easter eggs to be found). Instead we're gifted Swift's greatest strength: songwriting. The lyrics blur "fantasy and reality." There are imagined teenage love trysts, recreated dynasties and intimate reflections on modern love. We break down the sounds and lyrics that make up Swift's strongest album yet. SONGS DISCUSSED Taylor Swift - the 1, illicit affairs, my tears ricochet, august, epiphany, cruel summer, this is my trying, hoax, peace, you belong with me, mirrorball, epiphany, our song, cardigan, the last great american dynasty, betty The National - Light Years Bon Iver - 666 BONUS The correct term for the piano line is a "turn" Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Nu-Metal, the mid 90s creation that blended metal, rap and pop, is one of the most critically derided pop genres. So it is strange that this genre is having a comeback. But whereas its first incarnation was dominated by men, now women are leading the way. Artists like Poppy, Grimes and Rina Sawayama have recast the heavy guitars, sung-rap lyrics and gaudy aesthetic to fight back the patriarchy. CORRECTION: Charlie does not play pinch harmonics, but rather natural harmonics SONGS DISCUSSED Korn - Freak On A Leash Rina Sawayama - STFU! Limp Bizkit - Break Stuff Poppy - I Disagree Nine Inch Nails - Head Like A Hole Grimes, Hana - We Appreciate Power Rina Sawayama - XS Britney Spears - Gimme More Britney Spears - Toxic MORE Check out Finn McKenty's YouTube channel The Punk Rock MBA starting with his video on what killed Nu-Metal https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ATllyNXF3Kg&t Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Listen closely to the start of the 2015 hit "Hey Mama" by David Guetta, Nicki Minaj, Afrojack, and Bebe Rexha and you'll hear voices intoning a chant: "Be my woman, girl, I'll be your man." It's sample from a 1948 recording called "Rosie," and it's the propulsive hook of "Hey Mama," driving the song to over a billion views on YouTube. The voices in the sample belong to CB Cook and ten other unidentified prisoners at the Mississippi State Penitentiary, aka Parchman Farm. These men never got credit for their work, even though it's been reused by everyone from Guetta to the Animals to Nina Simone. We investigate the story of "Rosie" to understand an inequity that lies at the heart of the music business and our national consciousness. Songs Discussed David Guetta ft Nicki Minaj, Bebe Rexha, and Afrojack - Hey Mama CB Cook and Axe Gang - Rosie The Animals - Inside Looking Out Grand Funk Railroad - Inside Looking OUt KRS-One - Sound of Da Police Jay Z - Takeover Nina Simone - Be My Husband Check out Kembrew McLeod's and Peter DiCola's book Creative License to learn more about the law and culture of digital sampling. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
The 2020 song of summer competition is underway. We asked you for your favorite songs and put them in a head-to-head tournament. Find out which is the song for this very unusual summer.  ROUND 1 - TikTok Jams SAINt JHN - "Roses" Imanbek Remix  Megan Thee Stallion - Savage Remix (Feat. Beyoncé) The Weeknd - Blinding Lights ROUND 2 - Protest Anthems Beyoncé - Black Parade Anderson .Paak - Lockdown  YG - FTP ROUND 3 - Breezy Bops Dua Lipa - Physical Chloe x Halle - Do It Harry Styles - Watermelon Sugar ROUND 4 - Bummer Bangers Taylor Swift - Cruel Summer Lana Del Rey - Summertime Sadness HAIM - Up From A Dream Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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Comments (43)

Imperfectionist Podcast

hey guys...not sure if you guys get messages through this platform, but commercial placement and movie placement is likely the biggest reason the next generation knows a rune from before their birth... ;)

Sep 27th
Reply

Yasmine C

Kaleidoscopic pop, keyboard pop, korporate pop, Korean pop... what a great introduction to kpop.

Feb 17th
Reply

kondgeo

nice podcast

Feb 13th
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Whitney Rodden

Another great episode.

Feb 5th
Reply

Cristofer Dorante

buttcheeks bumping?? 🤣🤣🤣

Jan 15th
Reply

Owen Ball

how did Freddie Mercury not get a mention in an episode about falsetto? great show!

Nov 20th
Reply

Claudio Rodriguez Valdes

no.

Nov 20th
Reply (1)

rh92

I wish they wouldn't have so many guests on. It's cool every now and then but it's a disruption to the formula of the show. Especially when the guests are just there to be interviewed, it's better when they are there to bring analysis like the latest Rihanna episode guest

Nov 2nd
Reply

cbeautyam

I never thought I would see you guys cover K-Pop.

Jul 11th
Reply

tbh

"bragging about her songwriting prowess" oh my god give me a break she didn't produce the song!!

Jun 28th
Reply

Seluvaia Po'Uha

great song

Jun 5th
Reply

Byron Drake

It's like Pearl Jam got famous, then you get Days of the New and Stabbing Westward ect...

Jun 4th
Reply

mattters

to wit: fuck no

Jun 2nd
Reply

Tone Ravnå Bjørnstad

buuuut- the original of Don't Kill My Vibe by Norwegian young artist Sigrid is sooo much stronger vocally 😮! (+ she wrote the song)

May 12th
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Steven G

I liked your comments and explanations. Looking very much forward to the next episodes. I think I can learn a lot about how music is created and what the magic behind the songs is.

May 5th
Reply

Whitney Rodden

Cool concept! Another great episode, guys.

Apr 2nd
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Whitney Rodden

Post Malone journey LMAO

Mar 28th
Reply

Amanda Please

this discussion is so well done. They analyzed great angles with a really broad perspective. I think these guys are great at communicating and listening, especially when it comes deconstructing complex controversies in music and pop culture.

Mar 21st
Reply (2)

Eoin G

No NIN - Closer? For shame

Feb 28th
Reply

Dave Lawlis

A mere two songs from one decade does not a deep dive make. Anyway to sum it up, the music industry completely dropped the ball and failed to cash in on "alternative" music and college rock in the 1980s. Encouraged by Nirvana's popularity they basically went apeshit in the 90s, taking any act that wasn't quite mainstream and flinging them like so many turds at the wall in the hopes that some of them would stick.

Sep 20th
Reply
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